“Don’t be in the business of playing it safe. Be in the business of creating possibilities for greatness.”― Bob Iger, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
Currently, I’m reading Bob Iger’s, CEO of Walt Disney Company, memoir The Ride of a Lifetime based on his 45-year career in business. When Iger became the CEO of Disney in 2005, his ideas and values led to Disney’s resurgence. In The Ride of a Lifetime, Iger discusses 10 principles necessary for real leadership. Here are 5 of the 10 that resonated with me most.
- Optimism: Most people don’t want to follow someone who focuses on negativity. Sure, we all have bad days, and it can be challenging to be positive amid hardships, but how do you view life after those hardships? Are you positive and hopeful that things will be better, or do you dwell on the hardship and assume it will always be that way? Optimistic leaders don’t give in to pessimism. If you want to be an effective leader, you must focus on positivity and the path ahead.
- Courage: Courage is the foundation of risk-taking. If you don’t take risks, you’ll find yourself at your j-o-b forever- you’ll never be a successful CEO, executive, or in the C-Suite. If risk-taking scares you, start small. Make decisions, follow your gut, and get it done!
- Focus: Focus allows you to determine where you allocate your time, resources, and energy. As a business owner, you must clearly articulate your priorities, so others know where to focus their priorities. In a world where we’re constantly distracted by a million things at the drop of a hat, if you don’t focus on your priorities and help your team figure out theirs, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.
- Decisiveness: The chronic decision to be indecisive is inefficient when leading a team. This habit could cause the teams’ morale to suffer and is ultimately why many teams fall apart. Many people ask me how Pure Romance did so well in 2020 amid a global pandemic, and my answer is always “because I didn’t wait to make decisions.” I saw the urgency of the situation, and I pivoted immediately to keep the company afloat. I understand decisions can be scary because what if you make the wrong one? If this happens, own it! This is where your authenticity comes in.
- Authenticity: Always be open, genuine, and honest. Truth and authenticity breed respect and trust. Own up to each decision you make, and live in your truth. Sometimes we’ll be wrong, that’s life, and that’s okay! Being wrong is part of growing as a leader. Another aspect of being a leader is being uniquely you. While I have many business leaders I admire and look up to, at the end of the day, I’m me! I don’t aspire to be those other leaders- I aspire to be the best version of myself. Sure, take qualities in other people that you find admirable and use them to enhance yourself but don’t fake it until you make it, believe it until you become it.
While all 10 of Iger’s principles are essential and vital for business, these 5 have undoubtedly led me on my path as a CEO and leader. Check out The Ride of a Lifetime here to take a look at the 10 principles and incorporate them on your journey as a business owner.